Upon Further Review: Offense vs Illinois Comment Count

Brian October 25th, 2007 at 5:24 PM

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Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
M10 1 10 Ace 3-wide Run -3 Brown Zone left
Seven in the box against this three-wide look; Illinois in a base 4-3 set. We run zone left; Illinois blitzes right into it and gets a linebacker in the backfield instantly. Kind of looks like they knew exactly what was coming.
M7 2 13 Ace 3-wide Run 4 Brown Zone right
Same base 4-3 for Illinois. Good cut from Kraus(+1); frontside blocking is good from Boren(+1) and Ciulla, starting at RG despite the announced lineup. Illinois got blown off the ball, but forced a cutback from Brown, allowing the backside DE to close and prevent him from shooting into the secondary. Well blocked.
M11 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 15 Manningham Post
Weird formation with the tight end lined up just in front of and to the left of Minor. Manningham runs a post route as Arrington drags just in front of the first down line; Illinois jumps the drag as Henne reads this and fires the post. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)
M26 1 10 Ace 3-wide Pass 6 Butler Waggle
Butler open as Leman sells out on the playfake and the weakside linebacker is trying to cover receivers downfield in zone. Butler makes the grab and lumbers upfield a bit. (CA, 3)
M32 2 4 Ace Run 1 Brown Zone left
Moundros lined up as a nominal tight end; he ducks inside Butler at the snap, acting as a fullback. Brown follows him into the hole, but Ciulla(-1) has not cut off the backside DT, who powers through the block and tackles near the LOS. Good play by him; without that Michigan has a big gainer.
M33 3 3 Shotgun Empty Pass Int Manningham Cross
This is open for the first; thrown behind Manningham, tipped, and intercepted. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Interception, 0-7, 11 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
M32 1 10 Ace Run 3 Brown Zone left
Michigan catches a break as this #11 guy runs into Mathews and gives Michigan a free 15 yards. On this play we bring Arrington in motion to the left side of the line – where the FB is located – and use him as an extra blocker. I think Brown screws up a read here since the Arrington motion was not met with a defensive adjustment and he should be able to get the corner; maybe Kraus(-1)'s inability to handle Norwell helped him decide to head up into the middle of the line. A good backside cut from Schilling and some overpursuit from Ciulla's guy gives Brown a hole; Butler has no angle on a linebacker, though, and said linebacker makes a shoestring tackle.
M35 2 7 Ace Empty Pass 4 Manningham Bubble screen
Manningham motions to a pair of receivers at the top of the screen; I mutter "screen"; Michigan screens. Steele does a good job of recognizing this and attacking Arrington's outside shoulder; Arrington holds him a little bit but not enough to get called and Manningham manges to get the corner for a few. We really need some plays that play off this formation. (CA, 3)
M39 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide Pass -9 -- Sack
Same weird TE positioning. Ciulla(-1) loses his guy; Kraus(-1) loses his guy; they meet at Henne. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-7, 7 min 1st Q. Ugly pressure from both DTs; Zoltan blasts a 67 yard punt. Hail Zoltan! Illinois goes three and out, then shanks a punt.
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
M49 1 10 Ace Twins Run 7 Brown Zone left
Mallett in. This defense would be killing me if I was an Illinois fan. They've got a linebacker over the slot guy and are clearly tipping zone. We run away from the receivers as they attack; blitzing MLB swallowed up by Long(+1); Ciulla(+1) manages to cut the backside linebacker; Davis gets too far outside to help. Brown runs over the prone MLB, tripping in the process.
O44 2 3 Ace Twins Pass 10 Butler Waggle
Virtual replay of the first Butler catch with the quick dumpoff and Butler turning upfield for a decent gain. Looks quicker on this one. (CA, 3)
O34 1 10 Ace 3-wide Run 4 + 5 Brown Zone right
Manningham whiffs as he tries to cut the corner and Kraus can't quite get out on Leman; the rest of the play is well blocked; Ciulla and Boren drive guys downfield; Davis and Leman converge after a few. Incidental facemask.
O25 2 1 I-Form Run 3 Brown Inside zone
Think this is designed to go inside as Boren and Kraus double the DT, driving him back. Moundros(-1) whiffs on the linebacker; Brown cuts up into the double and a backside double. No one ever gets disengaged to block the second level but the push on the first level is enough for the first down.
O23 1 10 I-Form Twins Run 6 Brown Zone left
Nice job by Kraus(+1) to first get the DT sealed, then get out on a linebacker just enough to slow his progress and get Brown through the hole.
O17 2 4 I-Form Twins Run 1 Brown Zone left
Long(-1) gets beat on this play, allowing the DE to get inside of him after getting pushed back a yard or two; Brown attempts to cut past him but no dice.
O16 3 3 Shotgun Empty Pass 6 (pen) Manningham In
2 TEs who stay in to block so not exactly empty-empty. Mallett's throw is only marginally accurate – it would be behind but a makeable catch – but it's a moot point with the Illinois DB interfering. (CA-, N/A, protection 2/2)
O10 1 G I-Form Run 2 Brown Zone left
Frontside jammed up as Illinois jumps all over this, shooting a safety up right before the snap. Kraus has trouble with Norwell; Brown cuts back into the backs of his offensive linemen; little place else to go.
O8 2 G I-Form Pass Inc Arrington Circle
Arrington has 'em, as the corner jumps the slant as he starts heading to the sideline; the throw is batted at the line and falls to the turf. (I assume. If it wasn't, it slipped.) (BA, 0, protection 2/2)
O8 3 G Shotgun 2-back Pass Inc Arrington Skinny post
This could easily have been called interference; Hicks comes over the top, yanking Arrington with his off arm before the ball gets there. As it was, excellent coverage. Ball was again behind the receiver. (CA-, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: FG(25), 3-7, 1 min 1st Q. Holy God: during this drive ABC puts up a graphic on first down play selection. First six games: 24% pass. Purdue: 35%. I know, Mallett and blowouts and all that stuff but that's everyone's criticisms of Debord wrapped up into one little stat. Also, Zoltan's hold was a thing to be seen. Video!
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
M20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 8 Manningham Stop
Henne back; he throws a stop to Manningham good for about five; Manningham slips a tackle for a few more. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M28 2 2 I-Form Pass 40 Arrington Post
Butler(-1) lets a defensive end spin past him; Henne's going to get whacked unless he gets rid of this. Fortunately, he does, finding Arrington 30 yards downfield on a post route. Perfect throw. (DO, 2, protection 2/3) Watch the defense on this one; Illinois brings a safety to the line as Michigan comes out in a run formation on second and short; Henne knows he has this from the snap.
O32 1 10 I-Form Run 0 Henne Fumbled snap
Wheee! I love these.
O32 2 10 Ace 4-wide Pass Inc Arrington Stop
A simple stop route here that Henne throws well behind Arrington; he's got a shot at it but can't haul it in. Announcers unnecesssarily harsh on what would have been a twisting, one-handed grab. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)
O32 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 24 Manningham Flag
Weird TE placement; Manningham burns Davis on a flag and hauls it in. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2).
O8 1 G Ace Twins Pass 8 Manningham Waggle
Manningham on the far sideline stop route we occasionally use in the waggle; Henne daringly loops it over a linebacker coming over to cover; Manningham makes the reception, dodges a tackler, and extends for the touchdown. (DO, 3, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 10-14, 8 min 2nd Q. No runs on this drive; scoring offense.
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
M19 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 5 Manningham Stop
Henne probably should have gone with Arrington on a flag behind this, but that's life I guess. Manningham does a good job of fighting for two or three more after this short,well-covered completion. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M24 2 5 Ace Run 6 Brown Outside zone left
We motion Arrington in for the three TE look, and I can't figure out whether this is well blocked or not. Andre Criswell(!) is one of the TEs; he lets the Illinois DE inside of him; Arrington helps seal him. Long releases downfield on the MLB; as Brown clears the DE he's presented with a filling corner and the MLB cutting towards him, Long in tow; he cuts inside behind long and a peeling Criswell, then splits two more guys for first down yardage. Possibly Brown's best run of the night and an indication he might be starter material.
M30 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Pass Inc Manningham Deep slant
Weird TE. Not sure what to call this route; it's basically a slant that runs long as Arrington clears out zone coverage. Henne finds and fires it to Manningham, a little high. It's dropped. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M30 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide Pass -10 -- Sack
Schilling(-2) pwned by Pilcher; Henne with no chance. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Schilling -2) Jake looks sad after the play.
M20 3 20 Shotgun 3-wide Pass -7 -- Sack
A delayed stunt between the two DTs gets Lindquist free; Henne's stepped up into the pocket as the ends have come speed rushing upfield; he's snowed under. (PR, 0, protection 1/2, Minor -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-14, 4 min 2nd Q. Zoltan draws a personal foul for roughing the kicker. Hail Zoltan. It's that #11 again. Give that kid a scholarship.
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
M28 1 10 Ace 3-wide Run 5 Brown Zone left
Excellent blocking on the frontside; unfortunately Ciulla just can't quite get his man slowed up enough to spring Brown. The frontside drive blocks have created enough room for Brown to surge forward for a decent gain.
M33 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 25 Manningham Post
Waits for Manningham to come open in the zone, then hits him right in stride so he can pick up another 10 YAC. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)
O42 1 10 Ace 3-wide Run 12 Minor Draw
Illinois finally in nickel and waiting on the pass. We've done this a couple times this year where a TE lined up just off the LOS dives inside to become a fullback; here Butler picks off a linebacker as Boren moves to the second level and gets an excellent block. Minor powers through an arm tackle, then stiffarms a DB for a good gain.
O30 1 10 Ace 3-wide Run -1 Minor Draw
The problems on this play are manifold: Illinois has brought another guy into the box and Steele blitzes from the outside. Butler(-1) whiffs. Minor could just take it up the gut, but Schilling(-1) has gotten beaten by Pilcher. Two guys beating their blockers usually means TFL; this is a TFL.
O31 2 11 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 0 Butler Flat
Schilling(-1) again beaten; Henne manages to step up past the onrushing defender. Problem: Ciulla(-1) also beaten and there's a DT about to swallow Henne up. He manages to chuck it to Butler for a couple yards, no thanks to the OL. (CA+, 3, protection 0/2)
O31 3 11 Ace 3-wide Pass 15 Butler Deep cross
First guy is covered, so Henne has to check down; he finds Butler barely
open running a crossing route in man coverage, and puts it right where it needs to be so he can pick up the last couple yards he needs for the first on his own. Excellent pocket this time; good blitz pickup from Minor. (DO, 2, protection 3/3)
O16 1 10 Ace 3-wide Run 3 Minor Zone right
Pass-off block on the backside DT between Kraus and Long (you know, the one where Kraus bursts into the guy, knocking him back for Long to pick up) never gets the guy slowed up, so he tracks down the line. Steele defeats Butler's block(-1) and the two guys coverge on the ballcarrier despite Illinois only having six in the box.
O13 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide Pass Inc Arrington Stop & go
Henne has this – the short corner bites – but throws it long and outside. Arrington lays out but can't haul it in. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)
O13 3 7 Ace 3-wide Pass 13 Arrington Flag
The touchdown; beautiful layout from Arrington and the ball from Henne is well placed enough. (CA- 1, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-14, 1 min 2nd Q. Full credit to Lloyd for using the challenge here. Why the F did he have to use it, though?
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
M12 1 10 Ace Twins Run 0 + 5 Brown Zone left
Mallett in; Michigan runs against only seven in the box but virtually no one actually gets blocked. Ciulla(-1) can't even slow the backside DT; the DE manages to stay up after a pretty good cut from Schilling. Steele, unblocked, makes three guys in the backfield. No dice. We luck out with an incidental facemask.
M17 1 5 I-Form Twins Run 2 Brown Zone left
Wow, this is depressing: Illinois has only six guys in the box here. Long(-1) does not wall off his guy, who manages to set up inside enough to disengage and grab Brown as he passes. Ciulla(-1) fails to get a second level block; the linebacker fills ably. Michigan should really do better here.
M19 2 3 Ace Run 7 Brown Zone left
Butler gets driven way back but the DE is too aggressive and runs himself past Brown, falling. Long(+1) gets out on the WLB; Kraus and Moundros seal the frontside DT and the backside guy can't quite get to Brown.
M26 1 10 I-Form Twins Run -1 -- Fumbled snap
Woo. Illinois again with six in the box, running a safety to the line at the snap. Trying to dupe Mallett into a run call? (It was a zone right.)
M25 2 11 I-Form Twins Run 2 Brown Draw
Caught Illinois in a good defense for this, as they bring up a LB to the line and blitz him out of the play. Only Leman is back there, but Moundros runs right up the middle of the play and the hole is between Ciulla and Schilling; he has no angle and Britt Miller is unmolested.
M27 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide Pass -6 -- Sack
Ton of time for Mallett; he can't find anyone. He starts rolling out, directing Greg Mathews to go somewhere... he gets wide open but Mallett, for some reason, hesitates and takes a sack. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 17-14, 11 min 3rd Q. Carr chews Mallett out a bit after the play. Wonder what that was about?
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
M30 1 10 I-Form Twins Run 1 Brown Zone left
Ugly: seven in the box but a corner lined up over the slot guy, who is in tight over a TE. He blitzes right into this play. Moundros picks him off, but the result is that Miller is totally unblocked – extra guy – and tackles at the LOS.
M31 2 9 Ace 4-wide Pass Inc Butler TE Out
This is either deflected or just ugly. I can't quite make it out, but there's no mention of the pass getting batted, so... (IN, 0, protection 1/1)
M31 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 21 -- Scramble
Weird TE. Mallett can't find anyone open, but the middle of the field has broken wide open so he takes off. He is graceful like a dead gazelle.
O48 1 10 I-Form Run 4 Brown Draw
The DE gets inside Long, then falls; Moundros also runs up and creates a mess. Brown's apparently headed outside, so the linebacker also heads out, robbing Boren of an angle to block him. Somehow Brown squirts through for a decent gain.
O44 2 6 I-Form Twins Run 1 Brown Zone left
Corner blitzes right into the play and Moundros; Moundros can't handle him and he tackles at the LOS. Predictable predictable.
O43 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide Pass Inc Manningham Fly
Two TEs, no RBs, this is a straight bomb to Manningham; Manningham has a step and a half on Davis; the ball is badly underthrown. When Manningham tries to adjust, Davis runs him over, bailing Michigan out. A touchdown if accurate. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
O28 1 10 Ace Twins Run 0 -- Fumbled snap
This one we lose; Boren, BTW, is at guard and Kraus is doing the snapping.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 17-14, 7 min 3rd Q. Seriously, WTF.
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
M29 1 10 Ace 3-wide Pass 6 Butler Waggle
Butler doesn't even get a touch on the weakside DE, so he's un unblocked; Schilling is having trouble with the DT. Mallett has to dance around and flick it out to Butler, who they still aren't covering on this little flat route. (CA+, 3, protection 0/1, Butler)
M35 2 4 Ace 3-wide Run 12 Brown Zone left
I don't know if this was an adjustment or what, but now starts a series of plays where our running backs head out to the corner time and again, getting it time and again. This play is... odd. The frontside DT is let free as Long(+1) engages the frontside DE and Boren heads to the second level. The linebacker to the playside stays too far inside – maybe reading the hole caused by the DT flying upfield -- and gets blocked out of the play by Boren; Long holds the corner. Brown just runs outside.
M47 1 10 Ace 3-wide Run 30 Brown Zone right
Arrington shuffles in at the start of the play, sort of tipping where we're going; Illinois slants away from it anyw
ay. Martez Wilson gets inside Butler, but can't quite get around in time to catch up to Brown. Schilling(+1) clocked a linebacker on the second level; Arrington(+1) walls off the corner. Brown takes off for a big gainer.
O22 1 10 I-Form Twins Run 10 Minor Zone left
We shuffle and run towards it; this spurs a blitz from the LB to the playside that's perfectly timed. Long(+2) does a fantastic job absorbing the LB's momentum and actually driving him back. Moundros shoots between Long and Boren but ignores the MLB; Minor heads outside where a safety has come up; Moundros redeems himself by changing course and pounding him as Minor cuts back upfield. A stiffarm – Minor's second of the game – wards off the corner and gives Minor, uh, the corner.
O12 1 10 Ace Twins Run 0 Minor Zone left
Illinois now really stacking the hell out of the box, with eight guys in there plus a safety looking for the run. There are only two guys, one of them a linebacker, bothering with the WRs. This one's hard to make out; it looks like Kraus moved to the second level too quickly for Ciulla to pick up a block on the DT; Boren also struggled and DTs hit Minor at the LOS.
O12 2 10 Ace Twins Run 1 Brown Zone left
An excellent play from Leman, who shoots through a gap in the line and tackles Brown in the backfield.
O11 3 9 Shotgun Trips Pass Int Mathews Flag
Thrown into coverage; if he puts this outside maybe it has a chance. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Interception, 17-17, EO 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
M22 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Pass Inc Mathews Stop
Henne returns. Weird TE. Henne scans, coming off to a second or third read. It's low but catchable; Mathews can't dig it out. (CA-, 2, protection 2/2)
M22 2 10 Shotgun 2-back Pass -4 Minor Screen
This is all on Boren(-1), who hesitates and does not get out on Steele, allowing the LB to drive to the ball carrier and eventually causing a big TFL. (CA, 3)
M18 3 14 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 3 + 15 Mathews Drag
Weird TE. Henne comes down to Mathews on a well-covered crossing route for three yards; face mask bails Michigan out. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M36 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Pen -5 Butler False Start
M31 1 15 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 4 + 15 Manningham
Michigan motions Butler to a pair of wide receivers at the top of the screen; I mutter "screen"; Michigan screens. Illinois covers it well, holding it down to four yards, then picks up a late hit. (CA, 3)
O48 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Pass Inc Arrington? Stop?
First: Schilling gets away with a blatant hold here. Second: Schilling's blatant hold isn't good enough to keep the defender off Henne; he's hit as he throws and the ball is a duck that falls incomplete. (BA, 0, protection 0/2, Schilling -2)
O48 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Run 6 Brown Draw
Well blocked on the first level and Brown takes the appropriate hole; quick filling safety helps hold it down.
O42 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 5 Arrington Drag
Good pocket, throw, and catch. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)
O37 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Pass Inc Manningham Fly
Everyone runs flies in the hope that Illinois will have a two-deep coverage and the safeties will be SOL; this does not happen and everyone looks well covered. Henne throws for Manningham, but I think this is just chucking the ball OOB. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)
O37 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Run -6 Minor Zone left
I think. This is out of the shotgun and it's a little weird. A DT is left totally unblocked; Minor should run away from him but instead stops, thinking about trying to juke him. This does not work. At all. This actually kind of looks like Illinois' variation on the zone read that got Juice loose earlier in the game – Herbstreit says it's a zone read, too – but would we really run this? Are we stupid or something?
O43 3 16 Shotgun 3-wide Pass Inc Manningham Stop & go
Wide open, as the DB stumbles; overthrown. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 17-17, 9 min 4th Q. Mind bullets.
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
O13 1 10 I-Form Twins Run 2 Brown Zone left
Eight in the box and they're charging forward at the snap. Brown burrows his way for two in a mess of players.
O11 2 8 I-Form Pass 11 Manningham Reverse pass
Well, yeah, of course we call that.
Ln Dn Ds Form Type Yards Player Brief
O47 1 10 ??? Run -3 Henne Stumble
This is going to be zone right; Henne is stepped on by an OL and falls.
50 2 13 Shotgun 3-wide Pass 21 Mathews Drag
We love these drag routes, don't we? This one is actually a few yards down the field; an Illinois DB whiffs on a tackle and the corner opens up for Mathews. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
O29 1 10 I-Form Twins Run 1 Brown Zone left
No creases here; Butler(-1) driven back into Brown's path by Miller; a wad of bodies consumes the tailback.
O28 2 9 I-Form Twins Pass 7 Manningham Out
Corner is playing in Tajikistan after that last bomb and doesn't even come close to jumping the route. Ball is a little short and outside, dragging Manningham back upfield and eventually out of bounds when a first down was available with a better throw. (CA-, 3, protection 2/2)
O21 3 2 I-Form Big Run -2 Minor Zone left
I'm not sure how the zone is doing on third and short this year, but this is a bad acid flashback to last year. Minor is swarmed, avoids a four-yard TFL, and manages to only lose two. Aaaargh run an iso.
Drive Notes: FG(39), 2
7-17, 4 min 4th Q. Michigan gets the ball back with two minutes left and a ten point lead; charting stops here.


So I think the potential disconnect between myself and some readers is this: I say "we only won that game because of many, many Illinois mistakes" and the response is "but you did not consider our mistakes!" But, uh... aren't our mistakes sort of the point? Michigan only has control over what it does; in this game it did a lot of bad: turnovers, sacks, fumbled snaps, dropped balls, etc. The point is less "we should have lost to Illinois" and more "this game reinforces my dark side that believes this team is going to end up 8-4 or 9-3 and is not likely to win a bowl game."

That said, there were positives to take out of this game I didn't see from the Memorial Stadium endzone. Henne was very good. Both Brown and Minor showed some indication they will be decent to good Big Ten runners next year. A large portion of the offensive suck was Mallett related and hopefully not something that will extend into the last three games of the season.

Say something nice.

Full credit to the coaching staff for deciding to place boot upon trachea on the last drive, taking the opportunity offered by Illinois' petrified corner on the last second down charted to set up a makeable field goal. The drag route that set Michigan up was a bit fortunate -- a missed tackle turned a seven yard gain into twenty -- but at least they were throwing the ball a bit. The reward was a clinching score and a relatively safe last four minutes.



Oregon (1/2) 3 7 2 3 1 1 2
ND 2 7 4 1 0 2 0
PSU 3 12 6 3 6 1 2
NW (1/2) 2 5 4 1 1 1 1
Illinois (1/3) 0 4 2 2 0 1 0
The Horror 2 22 8 2 1 0 2
Oregon (1/2) 1 13 6 3 1 0 3
NW (1/2) 1 19 4 1 1 1 0
EMU 4 16 1 0 1 2 1
Purdue 3 20 1 1 1 1 2
Illinois (2/3) 5 15 4 0 1 1 3

(Hennemallettchart Legend)

First, Mallett: he was really, really bad. In addition to the numbers above he fumbled two snaps (Henne also fumbled one), losing one, and a few of the CAs were marginal throws behind receivers that allowed Illinois defensive backs to make a play on the ball. The idea of crediting him for the two pass interference penalties he picked up doesn't hold water, as one a short cross thrown behind the receiver, giving the DB a chance to make a play that he did not, and the other was an underthrown bomb that was an easy touchdown if accurate.

It's just a third of a game that Mallett was yanked in and out of and not worth panicking over, but let's not sugarcoat things: he was bad, bad, bad.

Aren't the coaches putting him in a position to fail?

To some extent yes, but at this point it's something of a chicken-and-egg problem. Does Mallett often perform poorly because the only times he's suffered to throw downfield are when there is no other options? Is he suffered to throw only on obvious throwing downs because he performs poorly? Given how bad he was and how that Michigan rumbled down the field on Mallett's final drive before he threw a killer interception at the five, it's hard to criticize.

But... still.... Mallett's first and second down play breakdowns:

Down Run Pass
1st 12 1
2nd 6 4

One fumbled snap on first down was not charted. That's a lot of runs, and the pass was one of those little flickouts to Butler behind the LOS. At this point, don't you have to try loosening things up a bit?

The only non-ND Mallett touchdown drive -- as opposed to Morelli gift -- was the one against Penn State where Michigan opened up, got the ball out to Manningham a couple times on first down, and staked itself to an eight-point lead it would not relinquish. Mallett's best drive against Northwestern was mostly passing. The rest? Bupkis. Though Michigan did have the one long ground-based drive against Illinois and a shorter one that ended in a field goal, the overall efficacy rate of Mallett's training wheels offense is minuscule... and that's not all on him. Except in this game.

And Henne?

I may have been a little generous with the DOs, but there they are; they are unlikely to be a result of win-based ecstasy. One inaccurate pass was the horrible interception; a couple others could plausibly be credited to his half-ending injury and should be looked upon in context. Another very strong outing for him.

Protection: 48/59. Not a good day. Culprits: Schilling -5, Ciulla -2, Butler -2, Minor -1, Kraus -1.

So this Schilling-buffeting?

First, a whole host of caveats: Schilling showed up, got mono, missed most of his freshman year with an injury that prevented him from adding strength anywhere, then was injured and out for most of spring practice. In-season he's been batted from tackle to guard and back to tackle. He is playing over his head to even be a starter.

That said, he's not playing particularly well. The problems in pass protection have been matched with frequent issues in the run game. One sack and a dangerously batted pass were on him as he failed to contain Illinois DE Doug Pilcher. At the moment, the great hope of the 2007 offensive line, that Schilling and Boren would turn out to be better than the departed Bihl/Riley combo, has not come to fruition. It looks highly unlikely to get there any time this year.


This Game Totals
Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Manningham 3 - 2/2 7/8 12 2/13 9/12 40/43
Arrington 1 1/3 2/2 - 6 3/10 13/16 25/26
Mathews 1 - 0/2 2/2 4 0/4 2/6 20/22
Hemingway - - - - 2 - - 2/2
Massey - - - - 2 0/3 1/1 3/3
Butler 1 - 1/1 3/3 1 0/2 - 11/11
Hart - - - - 4 - - 9/9
Minor - - - 1/1 - - 0/1 3/3
Moundros - - - - - - 1/1 1/1

A less effective game from the receivers, as Mathews and Manningham dropped a couple of makeable catches. Arrington laid out for one spectacular touchdown grab, though.

You mean obvious non-touchdown in the eyes of the replay official oops right?

Yeah, seriously. Everyone in the stadium expected that third down to be reviewed as soon as Arrington hit the ground, but Carr actually had to use his challenge to get the geriatric in the booth to put down his Werther's Originals and look at the play. WTF? The addition of the challenge seemed more a salve for outraged coaches in the aftermath of the fiasco that was the Alamo Bowl than a useful addition to the system. Michigan should never have been forced to use its challenge for an obviously close, critical play, especially given that Michigan let the play clock wind all the way down before making the challenge.


Henne, mostly. No one else stood out as particularly excellent on offense. Brown, maybe. Also, the Illinois punt and punt return teams. We love you guys. Especially #11.

There is no UFR for special teams, so special teams guys never get called out in these sections but we need a special shout out for Zoltan here. His 67-yard rocket changed the field position early in the game, and he allowed no returns, pinned opponents within the 20 whenever given the opportunity, dug out an extra point snap, and got himself roughed by #11. Yea, truly he is benevolent.

Also, KC Lopata: don't go changing.


Schilling, as mentioned, had a very tough time with Pilcher and others. Mallett was real bad for the first time in his Michigan career.

What does it mean for Minnesota?

Since the Gophers just gave up 400 rushing yards to a I-AA team and are starting three true freshmen in the secondary, anything less than one million points will be disappointing.